By Mitchell Boatman

HOLLAND – Another year, another heartbreak for the Spring Lake girls soccer team.

After losing to Forest Hills Northern 1-0 in last year’s Division 2 regional final, the Lakers experience an unhappy bit of déjà vu on Friday – only this time it was a little more painful.

Spring Lake battled Forest Hills Northern to a regulation and overtime tie, then fell 4-3 in a shootout in the regional finals at Holland Christian High School.

But the loss certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort on the Lakers’ part.

They trailed 3-1 with less than 15 minutes left in the second half, but rallied to force an overtime period. Neither team found the net in the 20 minutes of overtime, leading to the penalty kick shootout.

The Huskies and Lakers each converted their first two shots in the shootout, then Addie Brown converted for FHN to put her team up 3-2. Each team missed their next two tries, leaving Spring Lake with one final chance to force sudden death.

Emily Batts heads the ball past Forest Hills’ Carly Andrus. Photo/Jason Goorman

Taylor Colquitt shot toward the left corner, but FHN goalie Parker Hutchinson dove to her right to make the game-winning save for FHN.

“It was disappointing,” said Spring Lake Coach Becky May, whose team finished with an outstanding 19-3 record. “If there was any way for it to be worse than last year, this is it. We stood up and came back and fought. You want to see them get rewarded for that.”

Despite the loss, May thinks she had the better team Friday night.

“It’s not like you can say they’re better than we are because they (won the shootout),” May said. “Maybe they’re just used to the pressure. It’s just the way it happened.

“I think we played better soccer. They were more aggressive. In the end, we just couldn’t finish a PK.”

Several late calls, or non-calls, went against Spring Lake and took away scoring chances. With one minute left in the second half, the Lakers’ Emily Batts was tripped up by the FHN keeper, but no penalty was called.

“I thought Batts got taken down in the box by the keeper,” May said. “I don’t know why they give these keepers so much freedom. But that’s how it is. Now the next game is a year away and that stinks.”

The Huskies struck first with 24:50 to play in the first half on a goal from Elyse DeSchryver, and led 1-0 at halftime.

DeSchryver found Carlye Fatum for FHN’s second goal with 21:30 to play in the second half.

Spring Lake got on the board with 23:00 to play when Laney Peasley sent a ball into the box off a corner kick and Colquitt put it in the back of the net.

Just 90 seconds later, FHN’s Grace Sayers chipped a shot over Laker goalie Kamryn Lewkowski to make it 3-1.

Spring Lake had one last burst, however. Colquitt notched her second goal with 14:38 to play to draw the Lakers within one. Colquitt then assisted on a Batts goal with 13:42 to play to even the score.

But in the end, a tie in regulation was the best the Lakers could accomplish, and their season came to a disappointing end.

“We had a strong burst once we figured out what we needed to do,” May said. “When we got that momentum, we were able to hold in there for a bit.”